Landlord avoids jail after man’s 40% burns in fire horror

A landlord has escaped jail after failing to have proper fire safety precautions after a man suffered life-threatening 40 per cent burns when he was trapped in his room.

Warwick Crown Court heard that the victim, suffered after another resident deliberately started a fire in a Coventry multiple occupancy house.

Simon Fox (55) of Common Lane, Polesworth, had denied fire safety offences in relation to the house in Humber Road, Coventry but pleaded guilty to failing to take general fire precautions, placing people in danger in the event of a fire.

Warwick Crown Court heard that an arson incident occurred when an intoxicated ground-floor resident, who has since been jailed for three years, started a fire in her room.

The victim was rescued by firefighters who had found him unconscious in his room and was rushed to University Hospital in Coventry before being transferred to a specialised burns unit in London.

An investigation subsequently revealed there was no interlinked automatic fire detection system, and although there were some individual smoke detectors, the one on the kitchen, where there was no fire blanket, had no battery in it.

There were no smoke detectors in one of the ground floor bedrooms and two of the first-floor rooms.

Fox was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work. He was also fined him £25,000 to be paid by the end of August next year, with 15 months in prison in default, and £24,300 costs.

The judge said, “The ensuring of proper fire precautions in properties in multi-occupation is a matter of life and death. It is no exaggeration to say that, it is a literal truth.

“But at the age of 55 you are a man of good character, and I accept you seek to act as a responsible businessman.

“This is far from a reckless disregard for the safety of tenants, but you did not take the precautions you should have taken.”